Group D at the 2015 Women’s World Cup is the Group of Death; it consists of Sweden, USA, Australia and Nigeria.
The schedule for the group games are as follows:
Sweden vs Nigeria June 8th, 4 pm
USA - Australia June 8th 7:30 pm
Australia vs Nigeria June 12th, 5 pm
USA vs Sweden June 12th, 8 pm
USA vs Nigeria June 16th, 8 pm
Australia vs Nigeria June 16th, 8 pm
The Aussie’s head coach is Alen Stajcic, a former Australian international in his own right. In recent years, Australia has tremendously improved in the women’s game, and made tremendous strides in the process. The Aussie’s have made it to the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups. In the 2011 World Cup they lost to fellow Group D Member Sweden, 3-1 in the quarters as previously mentioned. They are ranked 10th in the FIFA rankings.
Why they will advance out of the group: Progress
The Matilda’s, as they are known, have improved at every single FIFA Women’s World Cup and Olympics. They have shown consistent improvement even though they have lost in the quarters the last two years.
Why they won’t advance out of the group: Injuries, Group D
The Matilda’s have been devastated by injuries to key players over the last few months, including to their top keeper Lydia Williams who is recovering from an ACL injury. They are a good team but a young team, and in any other group they would probably make it out but the quality of the group that they are in, will be too much for the Aussie’s to handle. They will likely be hoping to be one of the third place teams who manages to get out of the group.
The Swedish manager is one who should be familiar to American fans. Yes, the Swedes are now managed by former USWNT manager Pia Sundhage. They are ranked 5th in the world in the FIFA rankings. Sweden has been in every Women’s World Cup ever, since 1991, when it was first contested. Pia Sundhage was the United States manager at last World Cup and led them to the title game. In the 2011 iteration, Sweden lost to Japan in the semis and then won the 3rd place game. In qualifying for this edition of the World Cup they went 10-0, scoring 32 goals and giving up just 1. So, they are probably due to give up a lot more goals especially against great teams like the United States.
Why they will get out of the group: Domination, Last Shot
As previously said, in qualifying they dominated the competition. They will also feel the fire to win because the best Swedish female soccer players ever, the golden generation of Swedish soccer are over 30 years old.
Why they won’t get out of the group: Lose Momentum
They lose the momentum from qualifying and lose 1 game in the group and then they keep falling, nothing clicks for them and they give up goals at a ridiculous pace.
The Nigerians are coached by Edwin Okon. They are ranked 33rd in the World and have been in the World Cup every time. The Super Falcons have made it past the group stage only once, that being in 1999 when they lost in the quarterfinals. The positives for the Nigerians are with the success of the U-20 team.
Why they will make it out of the group: They are building and are a dark horse
Nigeria is the type of team that if you look past them to the next game, they will punish you for that. They need a good first step for the future and getting out a group that include the United States and Sweden would be a really big step for the future of women’s soccer in Nigeria. A number of young players were a part of the squad which recently lost in the final of FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to Germany, and they have the makings of a future golden generation.
Why they won’t make it out of the group: Youth, Lack of Experience
The Nigerians have not made it out of the group stage in 16 years. This team for the Nigerians is good but not good enough yet. Yet is the key word in that sentence, give them a few more years and they will be a really great team. They need to have a big win or tie in this tournament though, a great win for the future would be if they beat Sweden in an amazing upset.
United States of America:
The favorites in this year's tournament is far and away the Americans. The Americans come into this tournament ranked 2nd in the world only behind Germany. The lady at the helm of the Americans is Jill Ellis. The Americans have made it to every World Cup including hosting the 1999 and 2003 editions. The Americans have won the World Cup 2 times, in 1991 and in 1999 in front of a packed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Americans come into the World Cup with one goal at mind and anything short of that is failure, which are the expectations that they have given themselves after winning the World Cup twice. One of the best United States cores in history could go down without a title if they don’t win it this year.
Why they will get out of the group: Experience, Talent
Even without Alex Morgan for the group stage, The Americans have enough to probably finish 1st in the group. They are one of the best teams in the entire world and even with this group being the “Group of Death”, it’s the Group of Death because they are in it. The Americans will not have a ridiculously easy time, they won’t have shutouts in every game, but they will probably run over Nigeria, and Australia, which might be the US’s trap game.
Why they won’t make it out of the group: Injuries, Age
It is very unlikely that the United States will not make it out of the group, so the Alex Morgan injury might hurt the US and their age, as detailed in the article of why they will win the World Cup the core of players are nearing the end of their career, this is Abby Wambach’s last shot at a World Cup title.
Projected Group Standings:
1.United States of America